Even during a down year, Michigan State made its way into the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans extended their streak of consecutive March Madness appearances to 23 after putting together a strong run to close out the year.

Michigan State has its work cut out for it, as it will be playing one of the First Four games on Thursday night. The Spartans are a No. 11 seed and will take on UCLA for a chance to advance to the first round and take on BYU. Many expected Tom Izzo’s team — after beating Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State in the final two weeks of the regular season — would avoid a play-in contest.

Still, considering where MSU was in mid-February, it’s somewhat miraculous that it was able to get a bid. The Spartans have a chance to compete for a national title, and if we’ve learned anything from Izzo’s time in East Lansing, it’s to never count his teams out.

Following Selection Sunday, Izzo met with the media to talk about Michigan State’s tournament berth. Here’s what the head coach had to say: